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India leverages AI, but for her own reasons

New Delhi, March 13 2017: The biggest challenge for India is to remain competitive not because of Artificial Intelligence (AI)  but despite AI, says  Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology. He was  inaugurating an ASSOCHAM conference on 'Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics.' recently in the national capital.
One has to think how to use the same technology to do the opposite of what the technology is being created for. It  would not help  to copy Japan or  Germany because of their objectives  are different.All these countries are developing AI because they do not have people. That is not our problem", Shartma added, "We have to create new jobs in every domain whether it is services or manufacturing because both of these domains will get affected as both require decision making -- which AI excels in"
There is an urgent need to create 20 million new jobs i.e. about two crore new jobs in India every year so it would be a challenge to use global technologies like AI as per the local needs. "One has to think very deeply about how to use the same technology to do the opposite of what the technology is being created for, so it would not help us to copy Japan, Germany because of the objectives being little bit different," he added.
All these countries are developing AI because they do not have people. "If you want to grow and remain competitive the way to go would be technology which can replace people but our problem is totally opposite. We certainly need best of our technologists, scientists, even social scientists, economists to think very deeply about this problem of using AI to generate jobs," he added.

Biggest challenge for India is to remain competitive not because of AI but despite AI to be able to create new jobs in every domain whether it is services or manufacturing because both of these domains will get affected as both requireThe Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India -- ASSOCHAM-- believes that national initiatives like Make in India, Skill India and Digital India will immensely benefit from AI technology and suggests that the government should take both long-term and short-term policy initiatives to promote AI in the country.
To understand the impact of AI on various sectors and the various policy initiatives required, ASSOCHAM recently organised a  conference on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and on the sidelines, released a report, jointly with PwC entitled "Artificial Intelligence and Robotics – 2017 Leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics for sustainable growth".
Here are extracts from this report which focus on AI initiatives in India

Advances in AI have garnered extensive interest from the private and public sectors, with the field now being seen as a potential disruptor in the mass production of consumer goods and  other labour-intensive activities from which human potential can be freed  for higher endeavours
In Private Sector: AI has subtly made inroads into the daily lives of Indian citizens in the form of app-based cab aggregators and digital assistants on smartphones. The interest can be gauged from the fact that leading IT service outsourcing companies have begun thinking, talking and (a few) launching AI platforms. But these are just small steps towards achieving the ultimate goal of AI—namely replacing human intelligence. The systems being developed, as of now, are perfecting the process of increasing the efficiency of solving a repetitive problem. This will eventually lead to solutions to everchanging problems. In contrast, the start-up sector is able to directly attack these problems as it does not carry the baggage of IT outsourcing firms. Indian start-ups are working across a plethora of AI problems— identifying patterns in objects, people, style and preferences to advice on retail shopping; building conversational services and using them over social media apps and for online shopping; developing better diagnostic services; bringing in cognition in robotic process automation; helping in cross-channel discovery of preferences and working in multiple languages. These are just a few of the areas that Indian start-ups are working on. Commercial applications of AI are huge and Indian start-ups are beginning to identify them and tap into the market, which is still nascent.

In Government and public sector: Public policy in India on the application of AI has thus far lagged when compared to AI’s subtle usage by start-ups who have so seamlessly blended AI into the services provided to customers. If we look at the applications that we use/have used at some point of time (e-commerce platforms, chat services, social media services and so on), they have all been employing AI in some form and at some level of maturity or the other. Though India is making rapid progress in terms of technology, companies and researchers are yet to utilise the full potential of AI. While the USA is currently in the process of implementing laws

concerning driverless vehicles, India still lags behind. Instead of waiting for technology to reach a level where regulatory intervention becomes necessary, India could be a frontrunner by establishing a legal infrastructure in advance. Alternatively, early public sector interest in AI could trigger a spurt of activity in the AI field in India. The main dichotomy that the regulations will have to deal with relates to who will be liable for the activities of AI systems. These systems are designed to be creative and to continue learning from the data analysed. Hence, designers may not be able to understand how the system will work in the future.
Also, the role of an AI system, as in the case of a driverless car, could be to assist the user. In such a situation, deciding liability for what the AI system has done will be difficult. Therefore, this issue needs to be discussed and delved into deeply before arriving at any conclusion. The digital movement in India has created data which is readable by machines. At the same time, technologies have also reached a level of maturity where they can think like humans in real time and, at times, in a cost-effective way. Thus, they are suitable for use in governance.
Tech Note: What is AI
Artificial intelligence refers to the ability of a computer or a computer-enabled robotic system to process information and produce outcomes in a manner similar to the thought process of humans in learning, decision making and solving problems. By extension, the goal of AI systems is to develop systems capable of tacking complex problems in ways similar to human logic and reasoning




    


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